DURING the 80s and 90s, the first May bank holiday weekend meant one thing - The Caldy Sevens.
Whether as a player on a Saturday, a spectator on a Sunday or more recently as a manager, I could feel the anticipation building during April as the weekend drew ever closer.
Growing up as a child in North Wales, every August my dad would put together a team of carefully selected players to compete in the annual Rhyl Pub Sevens.
Amateur players from across the region would come along to try and wrestle the crown away from "Blue Lion All-Stars" but it seldom happened.
I used to pinch myself as I walked around the flat above our country inn to see British Lions legends such as JPR Williams, Graham Price, Mike Slemen and Nick Jeavons nursing hangovers from the previous night's celebrations.
Being around this sort of company meant it was inevitable the "sevens bug" would bite me one day.
My first appearance as a player at the Caldy Sevens came in 1991 when a group of friends and I made the 45 minute journey to compete in Saturday's competition.
At the time we all turned out for various clubs - a few of us where even playing rugby league at the time - so we chose to play under the generic name of the "North Wales Exiles".
A heavy session the previous night meant we limped through the opening rounds and went out early in the knockout stages but Caldy was quickly becoming my tournament of choice.
Watching the likes of Fiji, Samoa, Orrell, Leicester, Harlequins and Wasps battle it out on a Sunday made the weekend all the more special and for five years we came back in the hope of winning on Saturday and securing a prized invitation to compete against sevens legends such as of Waisale Serevi and Eric Rush.
But the arrival of professionalism saw the opportunities of playing against these international stars diminish and our final appearance at Caldy in 1996 saw us narrowly lose in the semi-final to eventual winners Sheffield University.
Call it a mid-life crisis but 14 years on and just a month before my 40th birthday, the North Wales Exiles returned to Caldy to compete in the 2010 Merseyside Sevens.
Making it to last year's final and a narrow loss to Stobart became the turning point for the Exiles - it was also the one and only game we lost during the 2010 sevens season!
A month later the Exiles won the Llangoed International Sevens before a stunning and wholly unexpected victory at the Manchester Sevens in July 2010.
But Caldy is the one I really want! It's personal to me. Caldy is the one with the history, the one with the memories and, most significantly, we have never won it! Look out Caldy - the Exiles are coming!